11.20.2020 Revised Phase III Provider Notice
Thank you for the important service you continue to provide to keep children safe, allowing parents and caregivers to work and helping businesses function. Your resiliency and dedication has provided many families relief and support as you continue to provide safe care and learning spaces for children. The purpose of this notice is to inform you of Governor Northam’s most recent amended Executive Order 63 regarding the requirement for children to wear a face covering while inside buildings. As we review updated guidance, public health research, and practices surrounding the response to COVID-19, the Virginia Department of Social Services (VDSS) continues to revise and update guidelines to reflect best practices and a change is necessary to reflect new guidance from the Governor’s Administration. An update to the requirements for face coverings and social gatherings is described below and also included in the updated guidelines.
9.25.20 Revised Phase III Child Care FAQ
Child care providers are heroes of the pandemic, providing essential services that keep our children safe, enable parents to return to work, and help businesses. The Virginia Department of Social Services (VDSS) is closely monitoring the COVID-19 pandemic and all federal and state guidelines distributed to child care facilities. VDSS recognizes that it is challenging for programs to remain open, given the circumstances and federal and state mandates. Our top priority is the health and safety of families in your programs, staff, and the other individuals who come into contact with children from your programs.
9.25.20 Revised Phase III Guidelines and Info for Child Care
General Guidelines for Child Care Programs Virginia continues to make strides towards flattening the COVID-19 curve. Based on a review of the latest public health guidelines and best practices, as well as input from Virginia’s child care providers, group size restrictions have been lifted and we strongly recommend that children age two and above wear face coverings. Continued adherence to public health guidance remains critically important; this includes using face coverings, maintaining social distance, checking for signs and symptoms of illness, keeping groups of children and caregivers together and not intermingling with other groups, and adhering to other public health recommendations.
Child Care Aware® of America (CCAoA): The Latest Coronavirus News & Resources for Child Care Professionals, Families and Policymakers
Child Care Aware® of America (CCAoA) is committed to providing news and the latest information to help prepare families, child care providers and policymakers as we closely monitor the situation around the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. To equip communities, CCAoA gathered resources to ensure the safety of all individuals. We are also interested in learning how Coronavirus has impacted your community. Your comments will help inform CCAoA and policymakers.
Center for Disease Control (CDC): Schools and Childcare Programs – Checklist for Teachers and Parents
These helpful checklists help you protect yourself, your students, and families by practicing and promoting healthy habits during the school year. Use these checklists to plan and take action if a COVID-19 outbreak occurs in your community.
A new warmline, VA COPES, is now available to all Virginia residents who may be struggling to cope with the effects and circumstances (such as isolation, fear, grief, and anxiety) around COVID-19. It can be used to provide peer support, to help you identify coping strategies, local area resources, and support groups, and to support your mental health. VA COPES crisis counselors are available Monday-Friday 9 am – 9 pm and Saturday-Sunday 5 pm – 9 pm and can be reached by phone or text at 877-349-6428. Spanish speaking counselors are also available. NOTE: A warmline is not a hotline, which is for individuals in need of emergency services. If you are in crisis, please call the National Crisis Hotlines at 1-800-273-8255 or 911.
Early Childhood Investigations Video: Bracing for COVID-19: What Early Childhood Programs Need to Know and Consider Now, by Julie Looper Coats, M.A., Jessica Rose-Malm, M.A. and Tom Copeland
Most of us are not prepared for the impact of COVID-19. While we may have heard tips to mitigate the spread, you may be scrambling to figure out the many other details that will impact your program’s business. It’s time to take a deeper dive into all aspects of disaster preparedness including policies and procedures, health considerations, and the long term consequences of possible program closures. View this urgent and important webinar presented by Julie Looper Coats and Jessica Rose-Malm from Child Care Aware of America to organize your thinking and planning. Child Care business expert, Tom Copeland will also help you begin to plan how to handle tuition and subsidies, obligations to staff members, insurance (or lack thereof) and many other consequences.
Virginia Early Childhood Foundation: Virginia Child Care Guidance Briefing by State Officials – March 19
Yesterday VECF hosted a briefing on Virginia’s recently released child care guidance with state agency officials. Click here to listen to the recording of the call, including important questions from providers across Virginia. As we all adapt and respond to the new reality of COVID-19 as best we can, VECF is committed to persevering with our ongoing efforts to support communities, providers, children, families as well as our state partners and will communicate consistently and fully as needed updates and changes unfold. To receive notices about upcoming calls, please send your contact information to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Voices for Virginia’s Children: Advocating for Virginia’s Children During COVID-19
Our world has turned on a dime over the last week. COVID-19 has impacted the way we work, our social interactions and put many families in financial risk. As we gain our footing in these uncertain times, it’s important that we create stability and a path forward for Virginia’s children.
This week, our policy team has been working with state and federal officials in their response to COVID-19. We are pleased some solutions have already been put in place and anticipate more actions to follow. This is what we are doing to address many of these new challenges with policy solutions:
- EARLY CHILDHOOD CARE AND EDUCATION: We called on the Governor to provide more clear guidance for child care providers and for Congress to include the childcare sector in a stimulus package. While the Governor provided additional guidance on Wednesday, we are concerned that it does not address payment of childcare subsidy when closed.
- FOSTER CARE: Voices convened the Foster Care Policy Network to create a shared policy agenda. The members have responded to call on the state to provide some additional flexibility for children and families in the foster care system during this time.
- MENTAL HEALTH: While much of the focus on mental health is reducing the anxiety of children and caregivers during this time of uncertainty, Virginia’s Medicaid office has been hard at work to ensure that children continue to have access to the services they need. Yesterday, Virginia’s Medicaid office released guidance to families and health providers about temporary changes to the Medicaid program. Notably, co-pays have been eliminated for Medicaid and FAMIS services and many behavioral health services will be available through telehealth.
edWeb: COVID-19 Coronavirus Pandemic: Considerations for Early Childhood Professionals Webinar
Presented by Andrew Roszak, J.D., M.P.A., EMT-Paramedic, Executive Director, Institute for Childhood Preparedness | Tuesday, March 24, 2020 @ 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm EDT
Get a CE Certificate for this edWebinar Learn more
We understand that these are challenging times and there is a considerable amount of conflicting information at this time. Gryphon House is partnering with the preparedness experts at the Institute for Childhood Preparedness to offer this special edWebinar, designed to help cut through the noise and provide you with the essential information you need as an early childhood professional. Gryphon House author, Andrew Roszak, provides the latest updates and information designed to help keep you safe.
This recorded edWebinar will be of benefit to preK teachers, librarians, childcare providers, and school and district leaders.
Virginia Early Childhood Foundation: Updated Joint Guidance for Emergency Child Care during Statewide School Closure – March 31, 2020
On March 31, the Virginia Department of Social Services and the Virginia Department of Education released revised guidance for emergency child care during the statewide school closure in response to COVID-19. This revised guidance provides additional clarification for public schools considering providing emergency child care services for essential personnel during this time.
The Department of Social Services and the Department of Education are working closely together in this effort to identify emergency child care solutions for essential workers during the pandemic. The Commonwealth’s Chief School Readiness Officer, Jenna Conway, is coordinating state efforts on this matter.
Virginia Department of Social Services – COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions: Child Care – Updated March 26, 2020
The Virginia Department of Social Services (VDSS) is closely monitoring the COVID-19 pandemic and all guidance that is being distributed to child care facilities at the federal level. VDSS recognizes that it will be very challenging for programs to remain open, given the circumstances and federal and state mandates. This is unprecedented and we are most concerned about the health and safety of families in your programs, staff, and the other individuals who come into contact with children from your program.
For programs that remain open, we encourage you to adapt your service settings as much as possible to align with public health recommendations, which include social distancing. Review the FAQ’s below.
LENA: Caregiver Engagement Resources: Indoor Play
LENA has gathered resources and information about indoor play. With shelter-in-place orders in place for most of the country, it’s likely that the caregivers you serve are spending more time than usual inside with their children. Here are a few ideas for how to talk with infants and toddlers during indoor playtime:
- Toddler — #2. Comment on what they’re doing or looking at: When your toddler is playing with their toys, join in on the fun. For example, if dinosaurs are popular with your children, try commenting on their make-believe dino adventures to serve up loads of fun. “Your triceratops looks very fierce, how many horns does he have? Where does he find food?”
- Infant — #1. Talk about what you’re doing and thinking: Take a tour of the house/yard. Put your infant in a carrier or carry them in your arms and take a walk around. Look at pictures on the walls and talk about who you see. Walk from window to window and see what’s outside. Go outside and talk about the plants, animals, cars, people, etc. that you see.
NCTSN: Helping Children with Traumatic Separation or Traumatic Grief Related to COVID-19
This resource offers information on how to talk with children about traumatic separation or traumatic grief as it relates to the COVID-19 pandemic. COVID-19 has resulted in thousands of children being separated from loved ones who require isolation and/or hospitalization due to a loved one testing positive for COVID-19 or because of potential exposure for essential workers. This tip sheet is for caregivers or other adults supporting children with traumatic separation or traumatic grief related to COVID-19. Especially in stressful times, in addition to the suggestions here, all children benefit from caregivers listening to and validating their different feelings.
The Center on the Developing Child, Harvard University: COVID-19 Resources
What Is COVID-19? And How Does It Relate to Child Development?: This infographic from the Harvard University Center on the Developing Child explains the basics of what COVID-19 is, and what it can mean for stress levels in both children and the adults who care for them. It also offers some easy and concrete solutions to help caregivers ensure that both they and the children they care for don’t experience long-term effects of stress.
Stress, Resilience, and the Role of Science: Responding to the Coronavirus Pandemic: A statement from the Harvard University Center on the Developing Child Director Dr. Jack P. Shonkoff discusses two of the lessons learned thus far about child development from this pandemic.
How to Support Children (and Yourself) During the COVID-19 Outbreak: This Harvard University Center on the Developing Child brief includes a few simple and free activities to help support a child’s healthy development.
U.S. Committee on Breastfeeding: Infant and Young Child Feeding in Emergencies
Infant and Young Child Feeding in Emergencies: The U.S. Committee on Breastfeeding provides key facts, resources and guidance for breastfeeding during COVID-19.
Child Mind Institute: Anxiety and Coping with the Coronavirus
Anxiety and Coping With the Coronavirus: The resource from Child Mind Institute provides expert advice on managing anxiety within the family unit in a healthy way.
State Officials Letter for Providers: March 23, 2020